Wisconsin 2013 Medical Marijuana Bill Analysis
The Jacki Rickert Medical Cannabis Act
Sponsors: Sen. John Erpenbach; Rep. Chris Taylor
What the bill does:
The Jacki Rickert Medical Cannabis Act would create a comprehensive medical cannabis access system for Wisconsin patients. The bill would allow physicians in a bona fide relationship with a patient to recommend medical cannabis for certain conditions or treatment of certain symptoms. Patients, caregivers, providers, and physicians are protected from arrest and prosecution for conduct allowed by the law. It authorizes the Department of Health Services (DHS) to issue regulations on the creation of compassion centers where regulations. Compassion centers may not operate within 500 feet of a school or park. Patients or their registered caregivers may cultivate their own medicine in an enclosed, locked space. DHS may impose a registration fee on patients and caregivers, as well as promulgate other rules related to the medical cannabis program. Patients or their caregivers would not be legally protected if they possess more medicine than is allowed by law or if the patient smokes their medicine in a school, on mass transit, or any other public place.
The bill appears to meet the 8 guidelines set forth in the August 29, 2013 memorandum from the U.S. Department of Justice, “Guidance for Marijuana Enforcement,” (A.K.A. the 2013 Cole Memo).
Highlights for Patients:
- Patients or their caregivers may possess up to 3 ounces of usable medicine
- Patient access to medicine via state-licensed compassion centers or personal cultivation, up to 12 live marijuana plants per patient
- Caregivers may serve up to 5 patients each
- Volunteer patient registry, legal protections take effect with a valid physician recommendation (note: caregivers must be registered)
- The patient or caregiver status of a parent may not be used as evidence in a child custody proceeding, unless “behavior creates an unreasonable danger to the child that can be clearly articulated and substantiated.”
- Qualifying conditions include: Cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, hepatitis C, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, nail patella syndrome, Ehlers−Danlos Syndrome, PTSD; or a disease or condition that causes cachexia, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures (including those characteristic of epilepsy), or severe and persistent muscle spasms (including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis)
Areas for Improvement:
- The bill lacks employment, housing, education, and organ transplant discrimination protection for patients and caregivers
- The bill is unclear as to whether or not edibles, tinctures, lotions, or other forms or medical cannabis are permitted
- The language for “usable marijuana” refers to “marijuana leaves or flowers” but does not specify that they must be dried or detached from a live marijuana plant, which could be interpreted to mean the “usable marijuana” includes the leaves and flowers on live plants.
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